Stress and Stress Management with the Elderly
The relationship of stress to psychological functioning and health has been examined for some time by both basic and applied researchers. Stress has been associated with the onset and/or course of a number of physical and psychological conditions. Consequently, stress reduction procedures have been increasingly utilized with children and adults in both primary and adjunctive treatment. Such procedures have been used successfully to treat a range of anxiety disorders such as phobias, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and generalized anxiety. They have also been used in the treatment of other psychological disorders in which anxiety plays an important role, such as somatic complaints, paranoid ideation, depression, and in the treatment of psychophysiological dysfunctions such as high blood pressure, lower-back pain, headache pain, and the aversive side effects of cancer treatment. Despite relatively high rates of both psychological disorders and psychophysiological conditions, the elderly have been systematically neglected in the stress management literature. These individuals face a number of potentially stressful situations that are unique to this age group and place them at risk for developing stress-related disorders. This chapter will focus upon the use of stress management procedures with the elderly First, there will be a brief examination of conceptual issues in stress research. This will be followed by a discussion of reported problems in generalizing stress management procedures to the elderly population.
KeywordsAnxiety Disorder Elderly Subject Stress Management Somatic Complaint Headache Pain
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